Historical Cooking Books – 36 in a series – Cakes & Ale by Edward Spencer (1913)

Archive.org has a host of old cookery books (from mid-19th to mid-20th Century) available in many formats and on a host of topics. I happened across a few in my Pinterest feed and gone completely down the rabbit hole in this treasure trove of information. Sure some ideas might be out of date, but you never know what you might find when you explore these books. I’ll be sharing more books as I find them in the coming weeks. –Douglas

What might you find in these old cookbooks? What special recipes have been handed down to you? Share in the Comments!

Historical Cooking Books – 36 in a series – Cakes & Ale by Edward Spencer (1913)

Historical Cooking Books - 36 in a series - Cakes & Ale by Edward Spencer (1913)

Available in PDF, Text, JPG formats, and more



A long time ago, an estimable lady fell at the feet of an habitual publisher, and prayed unto him:–

“Give, oh! give me the subject of a book for which the world has a need, and I will write it for you.”

“Are you an author, madam?” asked the publisher, motioning his visitor to a seat.

“No, sir,” was the proud reply, “I am a poet.”

“Ah!” said the great man. “I am afraid there is no immediate worldly need of a poet. If you could only write a good cookery book, now!”

The story goes on to relate how the poetess, not rebuffed in the least, started on the requisite culinary work, directly she got home; pawned her jewels to purchase postage stamps, and wrote far and wide for recipes, which in course of time she obtained, by the hundredweight. Other recipes she “conveyed” from ancient works of gastronomy, and in a year or two the _magnum opus_ was given to the world; the lady’s share in the profits giving her “adequate provision for the remainder of her life.” We are not told, but it is presumable, that the publisher received a little adequate provision too.

History occasionally repeats itself; and the history of the present work begins in very much the same way.


* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

This entry was posted in Books, Cooking, Food, History. Bookmark the permalink.